Pedestrian accidents can occur whenever pedestrians and vehicles are sharing the same roadways. Because pedestrians have nothing to protect them from impact, vehicle vs. pedestrian accidents often result in serious injury or death.
Understanding pedestrian right-of-way laws can help protect you from injury and ensure you have legal recourse, should an accident occur.
Who has the right of way?
Florida state law requires pedestrians (people walking, in wheelchairs, roller skating, skateboarding or rollerblading) to obey all traffic and pedestrian signals. Here are some key points to remember:
- Sidewalks: When sidewalks are available and unobstructed, pedestrians must use them. If there are no sidewalks, pedestrians must walk on the left shoulder of the road, facing oncoming traffic.
- Crosswalks: Drivers are required to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk with a walk signal. If there is no walk signal, drivers must yield to the pedestrian. Other vehicles may not overtake those stopped to yield to pedestrians.
- Tunnels and bridges: If pedestrian tunnels or bridges are available, pedestrians must use those to cross streets.
- Lack of crosswalks: When there are no marked crosswalks, the pedestrian must use the shortest route of travel to cross the street. You may not cross an intersection diagonally unless there’s a specific signal for that purpose.
- Due care: Drivers are required to exercise “due care” to avoid colliding with pedestrians. If the pedestrians are children or incapacitated, drivers must exercise “special care” to avoid causing harm.
- Running into traffic: Pedestrians may not run into traffic—in other words, they cannot leave the sidewalk or the shoulder of the road and cause a driver to yield to them.
Violating pedestrian traffic laws is typically a non-criminal violation, but egregious instances may incur reckless driving charges or other consequences.
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, contact a trusted Sarasota, FL personal injury lawyer at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh today.